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About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

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Questions for PA City Manager Ed Shikada

Uploaded: Mar 22, 2022
I am contemplating walking through Palo Alto City Hall, clear see-through flag in hand, proclaiming, “Transparency: Now!”

Why? Because I am tired of all the seeming lack of awareness from city staff – and council members –that we residents want to know what’s going on in this community – including fires, accidents, burglaries, police mishaps, etc. Some issues remain silent for weeks or months.

Case in point: Since he took office in 2019, Palo Alto City Manager Ed Shikada has sent weekly reports only to council members, not the public, informing them about problems in town. Portions of the briefings were labeled “information for council members only – not to be distributed to the public at this time,” as reported by the Daily Post.

And what kind of information shouldn’t the public know about?

Well, for example, Shikada reported only to the council leaks at Cubberley Community Center from a fire hose and a hot water system, resulting flooding and gym closures for several weeks. And only the council was told about a new timeline with Pets in Need for taking over the operation of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter, and that billionaire John Arrillaga’s very generous $35 million offer to build a new gym in town was “off the table,” due to Arrillaga’s death.

So why in the world is any of that information distributed only to the council? And why haven’t any council members objected, since none of the newspapers in town apparently were informed. What’s so “secret” about a water leak? Or a new schedule for Pets in Need to run an animal shelter?

And if those minor issues are things Shikada thinks the public can’t know about, what about the bigger problems in town, like the problems that are occurring in the police department? Many incidents, like a police dog attacking a man sleeping in a back yard in Mountain View were not announced for weeks afterward. The sleeping suspect had not been the man the police were seeking.

These are the issues that eventually became public, oftentimes weeks after disclosed to the council members.

Sure, it’s easy for city hall employees to shut their information doors to the public, because then they don‘t have reporters nosing around or city gadflies asking awkward questions. Cover-ups and silence are so much simpler.

But there are other incidents prompting my concern about information to the public.

Shikada was scheduled to give a speech to my Rotary Club, with the understanding that it was, in part, to be a Q&A. But once introduced, with a quip that he may drag this out to avoid questions from Post Editor Dave Price, the moderator, Shikada began talking about the new 101 bike bridge, the progress on the Public Safety Building near Cal Ave, the opening of the remodeled Junior Museum, the budget deficit last year., etc. After showing about 30 slides, Shikada finished his speech at 1:26 p.m., four minutes before the hard close of the meeting, so only three members of the audience asked brief questions -- and not Dave Price.

I guess what I had hoped to hear was a Q&A where Shikada could address the concerns of residents in town. Those concerns exist, and if the public’s questions were answered by the city manager, I think greater understanding by the public and the city manager could occur.

These are some of the issues I hoped Shikada to address, because this is what I think the public wants to know:

• You are not the police chief, but you are his direct supervisor. PA residents in recent months have been worried about the lack of transparency in the department (e.g., encryption, restrictions on press contacts with the PD) as evidenced in last week’s meeting with residents to determine what they are looking for in a new chief. Transparency was the most important quality they cited. Yet under your supervision, lack of transparency has been a big issue the past year – and you seemingly did nothing about it. You evidently supported encryption, as well as the lack of direct press contact with the chief, and obviously took no action when several instances involving police misconduct problems were squelched within the department for months. Please comment.

• Downtown: it seems like many of the offices and tech companies used to occupy are still empty, and the lack of people during the day is hurting business. When do you think we'll be back at full office occupancy? What are you or your team doing to find new tenants and have retail stores locate here?

• Given the demise of retail stores downtown, and hearing that many merchants are thinking of moving out, is this a good time to put the business tax on the ballot?

• Some residents have complained that the city hires too many consultants – and spends too much money on them. With a large, competent and well-paid city staff, why does the city need so many consultants? If we are outsourcing to consultants, maybe we need fewer staff? Just a thought.

I pose these questions to point out that this is our town, we have a right to know what is going on – and not weeks after something happened or after the staff decides what action to take. Many of us our waving our clear see-through flags








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Comments

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 22, 2022 at 3:51 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

I would like to know in particular about how much of a difference the costs of running Foothills Park have changed since opening to all? I would like to know a balance sheet of income v costs before and costs now. Do we have numbers of annual passes and are these mainly from outside Palo Alto or just Palo Alto residents since there is a discount for residents.

Likewise similar questions about Junior Museum. Are there any numbers of visitors and family memberships?

Both of these should be of concern to us.


Posted by Warren Chen, a resident of another community,
on Mar 22, 2022 at 4:20 pm

Warren Chen is a registered user.

This editorial indictment of the City Manager has subtle overtones of prejudice and contempt towards yet another Asian American. This time a public official.

When will it all come to an end and how far has Palo Alto actually come in terms actually embracing and accepting the various cultural and ethnic diversities it so proudly expounds?

The Houston suburbs (where I reside now) is seemingly far less racist than when I resided in Palo Alto.


Posted by Eeyore (formerly StarSpring), a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Mar 23, 2022 at 12:36 pm

Eeyore (formerly StarSpring) is a registered user.

Just because Ed Shikada is Asian he doesn't get a free pass to do his job poorly.


Posted by Penny Wilcox, a resident of another community,
on Mar 23, 2022 at 1:00 pm

Penny Wilcox is a registered user.

"Just because Ed Shikada is Asian he doesn't get a free pass to do his job poorly."

True and the same applies to right-wing Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (African American) and Gavin Newsom (privileged white politician masquerading as a CA governor).

Ed Shikada is just a highly-paid small-time city administrator and the PACC bears responsibility for his hiring.


Posted by Anne, a resident of Midtown,
on Mar 23, 2022 at 2:39 pm

Anne is a registered user.

Thank you Diana. I agree, Ed Shikada has been a huge disappointment, and anti Asian sentiment does not apply in his case.


Posted by Anne, a resident of Midtown,
on Mar 23, 2022 at 2:39 pm

Anne is a registered user.

Thank you Diana. I agree, Ed Shikada has been a huge disappointment, and anti Asian sentiment does not apply in his case.


Posted by Bob Carlin, a resident of another community,
on Mar 24, 2022 at 11:28 am

Bob Carlin is a registered user.

> Ed Shikada has been a huge disappointment, and anti Asian sentiment does not apply in his case.

Asian Americans are often held to a higher level of scrutiny than are white and/or black professionals in similar administrative positions.

This is symbolic of pervasive racism or prejudice.

Even disgraced former NY governor Andrew Cuomo is planning (aka plotting) a political comeback because he is white entitled.

Most Asians in politics and administrative roles do not have that convenient option unless they reside in the People's Republic of China.






Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Mar 24, 2022 at 11:40 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Let's remember that former Mayor Kniss only chose to interview one person for city manager -- Shikada --- AND she and her then-council awarded him an extra year's salary, vesting and benefits IF he were to be forced to resign or fired FOR cause. That's quite the financial incentive to keep tweaking us until we finally lose our patience and fire him or force him out.

What were they thinking? Shame on him for his lack of transparency, for lousy supervision of our highly paid staff, our inefficient and costly police, our out-of-control Utility Dept that continues to overcharge us $20,000,000 a year while forcing us to pay for THEIR appeal of the jduge's order to repay us...

Shameful. Shame on him for continuing to evade scrutiny. Shame on us and past and present city councils / mayors for allowing this to continue for too long.

Plus WHY is the city manager wasting our time and money by offering us RECIPES in his Uplift newsletters when we have REAL problems??


Posted by Bobbi Lange, a resident of Blossom Valley,
on Mar 24, 2022 at 2:21 pm

Bobbi Lange is a registered user.

"...former Mayor Kniss only chose to interview one person for city manager -- Shikada --- AND she and her then-council awarded him an extra year's salary, vesting and benefits IF he were to be forced to resign or fired FOR cause. That's quite the financial incentive to keep tweaking us until we finally lose our patience and fire him or force him out."

^ This sounds more like professional sports than constructive city government hiring practices.

Why did the PACC rubber stamp Ms. Kniss' exclusive offer?

Mr. Shikada must be a superstar city manager to command such perks.

And once the contract is signed, there is no going back.


Posted by Erubial Uriegas, a resident of another community,
on Mar 24, 2022 at 7:39 pm

Erubial Uriegas is a registered user.

If it were the former City Manager of Palo Alto, no one here would be raising a fuss because he was a white person.

Racism and prejudice is ugly and best reserved for unenlightened white people who have never experienced true racism.


Posted by Mondoman, a resident of Green Acres,
on Mar 24, 2022 at 11:06 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

"This editorial indictment of the City Manager has subtle overtones of prejudice and contempt towards yet another Asian American."

No, actually it doesn't. No prejudice. Just pointing out real policy failures and a seeming unwillingness to report or discuss them.


Posted by Native to the BAY, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Mar 24, 2022 at 11:08 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Madison Wong, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 7:18 am

Madison Wong is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Walter James, a resident of another community,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 8:16 am

Walter James is a registered user.

The inquiries cited are too complex to be answered in a brief Q&A session.

Further studies need to be conducted and then fully reviewed by upper level management prior to any pertinent information being disclosed to the public at large.

This is responsible city management as the public does not need to be made aware of hypotheticals and various issues deemed trivial by the administrative staffs.

Palo Alto is not a Mayberry where locals gather to gossip about nothingness at the barber shop or hair salon.

And while it is unfortunate that a PAPD officer made an error in judgement with the police dog attack, the cost to the city was a nominal $135K rather than in the millions of dollars. This constitutes good city management as the public need not be fully informed while lawyers are still discussing the settlement numbers in private.

Mr. Shikada is not a clairvoyant when it comes to rejuvenating the local economy and downtown rental spaces. These topics are best reserved for the highly qualified consultants that the city hires to assist in evaluating these matters.

It would be totally irresponsible for Mr. Shikada to simply provide answers to complex questions off the top of his head.

In many instances there are no easy answers, just more questions.


Posted by Emil Petrovsky, a resident of Castro City,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 8:57 am

Emil Petrovsky is a registered user.

It is unfortunate that Palo Alto does not embrace or promote ethnic diversity like Mountain View where these kinds of issues are pretty much non-existent.

Perhaps it is because Mountain View has always been ethnically diversified from the beginning whereas Palo Alto has been experiencing a demographic changing of the guard.

Asian Americans in positions of authority and decision-making at City Hall in Mountain View are not judged as harshly as their counterparts in Palo Alto.

This says a lot about Palo Alto from the standpoint of its lack of acceptance and respect for non-white city administrators.

Call it racism or The Palo Alto Way.


Posted by Douglas Matsumura, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 9:08 am

Douglas Matsumura is a registered user.

College educated Asian American professionals often opt for careers in the fields of public administration, civil service, or healthcare because there is no color line in which to be unfairly judged by prejudice or any inherent contempt towards non-white people of color.

As another poster noted, if Mr. Shikada were white would we still be having this discussion?




Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 10:07 am

Online Name is a registered user.

"If it were the former City Manager of Palo Alto, no one here would be raising a fuss because he was a white person."

Not true at all. If you paid attention during Jim Keene's rule, many of us were outraged at his greed. his support of incompetent city employees, his allowing the sale of the President Hotel to a rich upscale developer that then evicted 85 long-term PA residents WHILE wanting more money for "affordable" housing -- aka his cronies.

Race seems to have little or nothing to with what we call the City Managers Cabal where they double- and triple-dip, collecting pensions from all the cities they've help destroy while we pay them huge salaries, give them houses, car allowances, etc etc.

Lately surrounding communities have forced out their city managers for failing to listen to the voters and the city council.


Posted by Ken Stein, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 11:11 am

Ken Stein is a registered user.

Maybe all of the whiners should consider hiring a consultant of their own to look into this contentious matter.


Posted by Felicia Hadaad, a resident of Blossom Valley,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 11:34 am

Felicia Hadaad is a registered user.

"...while it is unfortunate that a PAPD officer made an error in judgement with the police dog attack, the cost to the city was a nominal $135K rather than in the millions of dollars."

Kudos to the city attorney for brokering such a low-ball settlement. The City of Palo Alto administrators are doing their job as $135,000.00 is a drop in the bucket for cases involving police misconduct.

On the other hand, had the suspect been an Islamist terrorist, avowed Communist, or a Putin cyber-hacker, the residents of Palo Alto would probably have given the arresting officer the keys to the city along with a commendation.

Such is life in Shallow Alto.


Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 12:07 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

"Kudos to the city attorney for brokering such a low-ball settlement. The City of Palo Alto administrators are doing their job as $135,000.00 is a drop in the bucket for cases involving police misconduct."

Why sweat the small stuff when the City Attorney continues to defend the practice of ripping off PA residents to the tune of $20,000,000 for utilities over-charges, rejects the judge's order to repay us and then forces us to pay for the outside attorneys involved in the appeal.

And were that not enough, she's also working on a way to link the right to continue to "overcharge" us to implementing the long-overdue business tax.


Posted by Efren Martinez, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 1:24 pm

Efren Martinez is a registered user.

"The City of Palo Alto administrators are doing their job as $135,000.00 is a drop in the bucket for cases involving police misconduct."

"Why sweat the small stuff..."

^ This cavalier comment just goes to show that there are many Palo Alto residents who don't care about police brutality or the pervasive mistreatment of people of color.

Many Palo Altans are only concerned about their own little world of self-serving nimbyism.

Narcissism and racism are also very unbecoming for a city of residents who supposedly profess their commitment to social enlightenment and ethnic tolerance.

That they are now condemning an Asian American city manager comes as no real surprise.









Posted by Charles West, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 1:39 pm

Charles West is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Judy Williams, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 1:58 pm

Judy Williams is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Lateisha Tolliver, a resident of North Whisman,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 3:44 pm

Lateisha Tolliver is a registered user.

• Asian Americans are often held to a higher level of scrutiny than are white and/or black professionals in similar administrative positions.

I suspect that unhappy Palo Alto residents would be just as critical towards an African American city manager because they prefer white people in higher levels of municipal authority.

There has never been a black mayor, city manager, fire chief, city attorney, or police chief in Palo Alto's history.

The only difference is that the black activist community is far more cohesive than that of the Asian Americans.

As a result, any hintings of racism towards an African American civic leader would garner more attention by the media and respective civil rights groups.

BLM


Posted by Eeyore (formerly StarSpring), a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 5:03 pm

Eeyore (formerly StarSpring) is a registered user.

The population of Palo Alto is >40% Asian, if I read the latest poll correctly. Stop with this "everything is racist" line. Yes, I am aware that racism is literally baked-in to American culture. I read the news on the unprovoked attacks on people of color. I never connected "Shikada" with "Asian". He is just an unskilled City Manager with a severance package so large the CC is afraid of firing him.

@Helene Cooper is correct. Palo Alto is large enough that we need a full time, elected, City Council to manage our day to day requirements.


Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 7:19 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

""Why sweat the small stuff..."

^ This cavalier comment just goes to show that there are many Palo Alto residents who don't care about police brutality or the pervasive mistreatment of people of color."

That was sarcasm directed at the city, its lack of accountability and transparency. It has nothing to do with racism or defending police brutality.

"Maybe all of the whiners should consider hiring a consultant of their own to look into this contentious matter."

Do your homework and look at all the traffic studies people have paid for because they / we know how inaccurate and biases the city's studies are. They shamefully conduct them when traffic's the lightest.

But if you want to look at "whiners" hiring their own consultants just check out the personal expenses the neighbors of Casti have borne, hiring their own engineers, arborists, lawyers, etc etc. to fight against the continued abuses by Casti, its pr firm and all the former and current city officials in their pockets.

That's where you're see the HUGE expenditures to counter SHikada & Company's failures, Read the topics on Casti and you'll see how they've hidden reports from the public in their pandering to an institution where 75% of the student body are NON-Palo Altans, where even Casti Grads and/or parents are appalled by the city's pandering.,


Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 7:24 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

PS: Two of our City Council members are Asian. One is very competent, up on the details and concerned about the community; the other consistently defends developers and their interests regardless of the facts.


Posted by Jason Zhao, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 25, 2022 at 8:03 pm

Jason Zhao is a registered user.

"PS: Two of our City Council members are Asian. One is very competent, up on the details and concerned about the community; the other consistently defends developers and their interests regardless of the facts."

Without naming any names...

Fiscal responsibility, an undivided attention towards addressing & resolving all pertinent resident concerns, crime prevention advocacy, and a distancing from overdevelopment interests is a sign of a good city council member and mayor.

How many on the PACC actually qualify?


Posted by Bette Hosmer, a resident of another community,
on Mar 26, 2022 at 9:06 am

Bette Hosmer is a registered user.

It is unfortunate that despite its affluence, expensive homes, excellent public schools, nice restaurants, & convenient access to high-end shopping, so many residents are unhappy living in Palo Alto.

This just goes to show that while having an abundance of money can buy personal enjoyments & quality entertainment, it cannot buy happiness or any long term sense of self-satisfaction.

We used to reside in Palo Alto when the only vestige of high-tech was along Page Mill Road and both Town & Country Village and Stanford Shopping Center were middle-class venues consisting of moderately priced but high-quality stores.

Much has changed and with the recent influx of new money, the Palo Alto landscape has de-evolved into a wasteland of resident complaints, commercial overdevelopment, and a pervasive sense of personal entitlements.

A business writer once commented, "As Rome fell, so will Palo Alto."


Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Mar 26, 2022 at 9:28 am

Online Name is a registered user.

"This just goes to show that while having an abundance of money can buy personal enjoyments & quality entertainment, it cannot buy happiness or any long term sense of self-satisfaction."

Actually having access to quality entertainment went out the window years ago when traffic made it infeasible to go to the East Bay or San Francisco to attend concerts, exhibits, etc. EVEN when allowing ourselves many hours to get their.

I can't tell you the number of times we sacrificed our concert tickets and sat our rush hour in a Burlingame restaurant because we can't get there from here.

Take public transportation, they said, but they eliminated the parking lots near the Millbrae station to build yet more housing for yet more people!

Meanwhile the city continues to talk about a "15-minute city" that's limited to places you can reach in 15 minutes by walking, biking and public transit. Lots of entertainment and culture in the nearest office park!

And I'm someone who used to go routinely to a monthly Friday night party in Sausalito, had season tickets in Berkeley, went to Santa Cruz and Felton for music etc etc. No more. Now we're PIMBY's -=- PRISONERS in our own back yards!


Posted by Paul Wickersham, a resident of another community,
on Mar 26, 2022 at 10:05 am

Paul Wickersham is a registered user.

> Lots of entertainment and culture in the nearest office park!

Interesting how an upscale city such as Palo Alto is devoid of any quality entertainment or culture.

Mountain View has a modern Center for the Performing Arts whereas Palo Alto still operates out of the prehistoric Lucie Stern Theater.

The annual summer street fair hardly qualifies as culture or entertainment but it does draw many out-of-town visitors.

One cannot compare Palo Alto to the likes of Berkeley and Santa Cruz in terms of music and culture because there is no real culture in Palo Alto despite it being a college community.

The prolific expansion of Silicon Valley and its subsequent focus on conspicuous materialism destroyed any chances of Palo Alto becoming a leading edge university town like Austin, Boulder, Ann Arbor, and Chapel Hill to name a few.

Honore de Balzac was once quoted as saying "a banker can never be an artist" and Palo Alto's primary focus on fiscal objectives and realities precludes the city from ever becoming the modern day Florence of Silicon Valley.

The Golden Era of Palo Alto (post World War II to around the late 1970s) is long gone and will never return.


Posted by Clinton Longley, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 26, 2022 at 11:23 am

Clinton Longley is a registered user.

"Palo Alto's primary focus on fiscal objectives and realities precludes the city from ever becoming the modern day Florence of Silicon Valley."

^ It would take an asteroid knocking the Earth off its axis before Palo Alto ever achieved this status.

In the meantime, let's just gripe about municipal transparency in an opaque Palo Alto universe.

Palo Alto was never a noteworthy cultural center or an overly enlightened community so why complain about or yearn for something that never actually existed?

And while the price of Palo Alto residential real estate has skyrocketed, cultural sophistication was not a part of the package as one needs to venture beyond the city limits to experience it.

Danville and Bakersfield would be appropriate sister cities







Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 26, 2022 at 1:25 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

It is true that Palo Alto has little or nothing to do apart from shopping, dining and hiking.

When we moved into our home we were very friendly with our neighbors, an elderly couple who had lived here since the 50s. They said that in their younger days, they would frequently go to San Francisco for the theatre, for parties in some of the hotels, for museums and similar and even just for an afternoon shopping. As their children came along, they were members of the SF Zoo and a few other places and would often go for family day trips to "the City".

How times have changed. It is a trek to get to anything in San Francisco and as mentioned above, getting to a timed event is almost impossible. The last time we attempted to get to an evening event in the Ferry Building, we were hours late and even the return home took 2 hours and we were using Uber!

Palo Alto has lost so much being family friendly. The new Jr Museum is out of reach for most families. Palo Alto Bowl, Lazerquest, mini golf and race cars, the list goes on as to what is no longer nearby for family entertainment. Instead we are told to bike to the Baylands and can't even find proper restrooms when we get there or a coffee/ice cream shack for a treat.

Palo Alto has lost its charm and lost its way. We are turning into a dormitory town where everyone orders everything online, there is little community feel as nobody knows their neighbors and people moan on Nextdoor about parking spaces and dog poop.


Posted by Erin Weatherly, a resident of another community,
on Mar 26, 2022 at 2:03 pm

Erin Weatherly is a registered user.

"It is true that Palo Alto has little or nothing to do apart from shopping, dining and hiking."

Add some biking and that is about it.

But all things considered, neither Mountain View, Los Altos, or Menlo Park are prime venues for culture vultures.

They are bedroom communities ideally suited for small families, single folks, and wealthy immigrants from China.


"The prolific expansion of Silicon Valley and its subsequent focus on conspicuous materialism destroyed any chances of Palo Alto becoming a leading edge university town like Austin, Boulder, Ann Arbor, and Chapel Hill to name a few."

The majority of high-tech professionals in Silicon Valley are not culturally hip so this is to be expected.

There is no leading edge music scene in Palo Alto and no art museum of any worth or credibility.

On the other hand, dining out seems to be a major pastime as many midpeninsulans live to eat rather than vice versa.

Establishing a Palo Alto Culinary Academy along with an associated restaurant might work...similar to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and Greystone in Napa Valley.


Posted by Phil Devers, a resident of Atherton,
on Mar 26, 2022 at 2:57 pm

Phil Devers is a registered user.

Since PA doesn't have one, "Live to Eat" would be an appropriate city slogan.

What else could it lay a distant claim to...Hewlett-Packard, Stanford University or that dead redwood tree by the RR trestle?

No wonder some PA residents find the town boring and non-descript.


Posted by Phoebe Lake, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Mar 26, 2022 at 5:49 pm

Phoebe Lake is a registered user.

Speaking of Atherton...its residents could help aleve the housing shortage by offering their spare bedrooms and guest houses to those who do their housework, cooking, and estate maintenance.

Consider the possibilities. Until then, what goes on in Palo Alto should be of no concern or interest to Athertonites.


Posted by Jeremy Erman, a resident of Midtown,
on Mar 28, 2022 at 2:43 am

Jeremy Erman is a registered user.

Reading through the above comments, I noticed there was a suggestion that there have never been African Americans in top Palo Alto City Hall positions. In fact, Palo Alto's current Fire Chief, Geo Blackshire, is African American, and so was former City Manager June Fleming, who retired in 2000. Fleming was also Director of Palo Alto Libraries from 1968-1980 and Assistant City Manager from 1980-1992 before becoming City Manager in 1992. Blackshire was appointed Fire Chief in 2019, and his been with the Fire Department since 1997.

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by Barry Weiss, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 28, 2022 at 11:51 am

Barry Weiss is a registered user.

Good to know that there have been some prominent African Americans serving in various upper tier Palo Alto municipal positions.

[Portion removed.]


Posted by staying home, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Mar 28, 2022 at 7:22 pm

staying home is a registered user.

I am just laughing at Palo Alto not being a leading edge university town.







Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Mar 29, 2022 at 6:46 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Amazing comments from people who do not live here and use the city to project what ever their personal agendas are. Why is that? The state of CA has evolved from the gold rush days, major ports for economical growth, and most important the Pacific control during WW2 when we had major industry building boats, planes, automobiles, etc. Major population move to CA back when the huge dust storms in the mid-west drove people westward. We hade huge diversity back in those days and no one questioned it.

Post WW2 all of the large industry was shut down and people then had to move to wherever their skill sets took them. NAFTA then killed the huge manufacturing that was in the mid-west. If you keep moving manufacturing out of the country then your diversity will also disappear. It is an example of poor choices made by the government.

So we are now left with the most current industry - hi=tech and university systems - which can actually be done anywhere. The city has to manage this reduced career market where only those who can succeed in hi=tech world will get their piece of the pie. So all of the complainers - what have you done to be competitive in that job market?

This city has to manage the use of city assets to support what ever the current job market is selling. In the city of Santa Clara they are selling a major sports team - that city manager was the second highest paid in the state and a female Latino - just fired.

I am sure that the focus now will produce good results in the transparency requirements.


Posted by Sydney Abrams, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on Mar 29, 2022 at 8:50 am

Sydney Abrams is a registered user.

"...only those who can succeed in hi=tech world will get their piece of the pie. So all of the complainers - what have you done to be competitive in that job market?"

This explains why Silicon Valley (including Palo Alto) has no cultural identity in terms of art, literature and/or music.

High-tech and assorted financial occupations/mentalities have no real connection with creative endeavors other than partaking in the culinary arts and designing new cellphones.


Posted by Dirk Lewellen, a resident of Barron Park,
on Mar 29, 2022 at 3:51 pm

Dirk Lewellen is a registered user.

Palo Alto was never a cultural center of anything so why expect it to emerge as one now?

It does have the annual summer Obon Festival at the Palo Alto Buddhist Temple
but that's about it.

There are no noteworthy art museums, music venues, or hip underground coffee shops to be found in the city of the dying redwood tree.


Posted by Rick Taylor, a resident of Atherton,
on Mar 29, 2022 at 4:34 pm

Rick Taylor is a registered user.

• "Palo Alto was never a cultural center of anything so why expect it to emerge as one now?"

Palo Alto has its annual Chili Cook-Off during the summer.

Doesn't that count as culture?

And what about its annual street fair whe


Posted by Rick Taylor, a resident of Atherton,
on Mar 29, 2022 at 4:37 pm

Rick Taylor is a registered user.

• "Palo Alto was never a cultural center of anything so why expect it to emerge as one now?"

Palo Alto has its annual Chili Cook-Off during the summer.

Doesn't that count as culture?

And what about its annual street fair where craftsmen from the Sierra foothills display their goods along with the cover
bands?


Posted by Laci Wilcox, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Mar 30, 2022 at 8:09 am

Laci Wilcox is a registered user.

Does Palo Alto still have its annual Pet Parade?

That would certainly account for some culture.


Posted by Larry Berg, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Mar 30, 2022 at 11:04 am

Larry Berg is a registered user.

Given the general nature of these commentaries, when will Palo Alto residential real estate values start to drop?


Posted by Jeremy Erman, a resident of Midtown,
on Mar 31, 2022 at 12:00 am

Jeremy Erman is a registered user.

For those who think that Palo Alto lacks music, art, or cultural events, I suggest you go to the Lucie Stern Theatre this weekend and see TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's production of Jane Austen's SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, adapted into a musical by Paul Gordon.

Web Link


Posted by Jason Tang, a resident of Stanford,
on Mar 31, 2022 at 2:45 pm

Jason Tang is a registered user.

Stanford University offers and provides far more cultural events than Palo Alto and rightfully so because it is a major university.

Palo Alto is where folks gravitate towards for high-end shopping and high-end
dining and little more.

The annual Chili Cook-Off, Pet Parade, and summer street fair is about the best Palo Alto can do when it comes to culture
with the exception of the Obon Festival.

Lastly, a musical depicting a Jane Austen novel is more along the lines of Les Miserables.

In other words, it's pop entertainment for those who either didn't read the book or see the movie.

Is a Moby Dick musical in the works?


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