Top of the agenda is whether we still want to celebrate Columbus Day (you know, the man who discovered America) – or instead turn it into an “Indigenous Peoples” holiday. Also, on the debate table is whether to change Columbus Day to Italian Immigrants Day (because Columbus was Italian, you know) - or decide maybe to combine Columbus and Indigenous Peoples Day into one October holiday, OR, two separate ones? The possibilities seem endless.
But, of course, there’s even more to consider. It’s Palo Alto!
The council is already considering commemorating days for the Holocaust and Armenian genocide, and they are ready to adopt policies to formally recognize Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta. Would each have a day?
I can see city employees already salivating about more official holidays in this city – for which they get paid days off (so does the city manager and his entourage). They already get 12 days a year, like Columbus Day and Martin Luther King Day, and next year will get Juneteenth off also.
Council member Tom DuBois, who family roots are Italian, wants to have Italian Immigrants Day become a holiday, saying he recalled the discrimination that early Italian immigrants suffered in the United States.
But that brings up a big can of worms.
My forefathers and mothers came from Poland, and two of their noted generals, Thaddeus Kosciuszko, who fought bravely in the American Revolution, helping America fight the British, and Casimir Pulaski, who came to the United States in 1777 to serve in Washington's army and helped form the American cavalry -- both assisted this country during important times.
Polish immigrants, once they came to America, also experienced lots of discrimination since their early arrival days in the 1880s and 1890s. The discrimination has lasted for years and years. Remember all those terrible Polish jokes as late as 1950 that seemed to never end? Worse than the dumb blond jokes.
And what about the Irish, who certainly were discriminated against once here (“NO Irish need apply” in want ads), and the Germans were not welcomed upon their arrival, and the discrimination against Jews that has prevailed here ever since the last century?
I haven’t yet touched on all the Philippine immigrants, and Asians, and Tongans, etc. And what about the Portuguese and the Estonians?
So, should all these immigrant groups have national holidays?
Like I said, a big can of worms.
This coming Monday, our esteemed council members will debate this issue, and our paid staff will be on hand to assist in their decisions. And, to be fair, there are a couple of other action items o. the agenda.
Ironically, this discussion is just after a week of three blackouts in parts of the city – one, city officials said, caused by a squirrel! and another one by “miscommunication,” while the third by a faulty transformer – which, to me, are major issues. Three outages in three days = a problem.
Guess it’s easier – and more fun – to talk about creating a smorgasbord of potential holidays (thank you Swedes, for that word) than about electricity problems in our fair city.